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Bogie Bugsalewicz, June, 2004, the day before he was discharged from the hospital.
If you visited WYFP on December 28th, you would have enjoyed Annieli's diary about BFF's. This diary is about my BFF, who I met in the mid 80's at work. His birthday will be in 4 days. He would have been 59.
WYFP is our community's Saturday evening gathering to talk about our problems, empathize with one another, and share advice, pootie pictures, favorite adult beverages, and anything else that we think might help. Everyone and all sorts of troubles are welcome. May we find peace and healing here. Won't you please share the joy of WYFP by recommending?

He had been hired as a field technician for the bureau we worked for in what was then Chicago's Department of Public Works. That didn't last long, as he apparently had rubbed one of the other field people the wrong way, which resulted in that person trying to strangle him. So he was transferred downtown, and put in charge of our three brand-spanking-new IBM 5150 PC's. In the Air Force, they called him Bugsie, most everyone else called him Bogie. I called him Sarge, from his reccounting his days as a staff sargeant in USAFE(US Air Force in Europe).

I was struggling with assembling our bureau's first computerized database of signalized intersections under City of Chicago jurisdiction. Sarge jumped in to help me deal with the computer side of the deal, which was complicated by the fact that I was assigned to one of the two PC's that only had two full-height, 360 KB floppy drives. With his help, however, I got the data onto three floppy disks, and then he managed to apend the files together into one set, which would end up on the drive of our first 80386 machine, and our friendship was cemented. And I never made friends easily.

He was a natural-born computer hacker, so of course the Air Force had made him an armorer in an FB111 unit at RAF Lakenheath. He had been kicked out of Schimer College, and would be kicked out of the Air Force, because of his alcoholism, which he apparently licked for the most part by the time he was working for the City. He had a better addiction: computers. Sarge was the kind of person who liked to read up on and push things, like an operating system. He always told me to "RTFM" (Read The F**king Manual), because he had done that himself, at least twice, cover to cover. It made up for his lack of a formal computer science education, and later made getting certifications much easier. Unfortunately, he stayed up pretty late most nights doing this, and I had to act as his "alarm clock" of last resort, and drive him to work, No problem for me, as I had a free parking space downtown so my personal car was available for field work. But there were some mornings I just couldn't get him going.

The powers-what-am, and his boss at the time made good use of his hard-earned knowledge and talents, and took advantage of his good nature, tapping him for some extra duties, like working the traffic details for Cubs night games at Wrigley Field. His boss told him he'd put in for his getting classes and certifications, but then conveniently forgot about it, since with any promotion Sarge would earn would lose his boss access to those wonderful talents. They also used those days where he couldn't get going in the morning against him, too. This would eventually lead to Sarge getting a job outside of what had become the City's Department of Transportation.

Sarge also taught himself about networks, learning first-hand running a bulletin-board system of FindoNET (ICAN! BBS, in net 115). He tapped me to act as his assistant system operator (basically testing stuff when I dialed in) after I bought my first PC, a Parkard-Bell 80385SX machine with a 2400 baud modem. He went from a Tandy PC running DOS, to a home-built 80486 machine running OS/2, and then discovered the Internet. Becuase of the Sarge, I got online, and eventually ended up here at Daily Kos. If the Sarge were still around, he'd probably be hanging out here, too.

So, in the late 90's, he headed out to live in far suburbia, wanting to be free of the city that had been his home and his employer, hoping to put down roots in Batavia, IL, eventually working for DeVry's Oakbrook campus as a systems engineer. He had a nice house, in a nice little town, and a good job. But Sarge had been unlucky in love, and he would find out that he was unlucky in life, as well.

Sarge smoked, and had tried many times to quit. He had developed COPD, but that was nothing when he landed in the hospital in February, 2004. He had been more winded than usual, and had symptoms of a bleeding ulcer, but it was far worse. They discovered a tumor in his stomach, the oncologist figuring he had developed it from swallowing the tars from his cigarettes as he smoked. The doctor told him that if they got in and removed it immediately, he had a 50-50 chance of living at least another 5 years, and would be out of the hospital on 10 days.

He ended up in the hospital for 3-1/2 months, mostly due to dealing with infections. The picture of him herein was taken the day before he was discharged. Sucking on a Fentanil lollipop, he still had some hope he'd beat this thing. But it didn't work out that way. The time lost by his extended stay in the hospital had cut into his post-surgical radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and the tumor had been wrapped around a major blood vessel, and the cancer had spread to his liver. He went downhill in the early months of 2005, ending up back in the hospital almost a year after he had gone in for the surgery. The oncologist had said it was "disappointing", which had to be the understatement of the decade.

He died March 4, 2005.

My FP is that my evenings have been a lot quieter in these almost 8 years since he died. Until the last few months before his death, Sarge was always on the horn in the evening.

What's your FP tonight?

Originally posted to JeffW on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 04:30 PM PST.

Also republished by Chicago Kossacks.

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